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Energy Transition Under Fire As Power Bills Soar

Energy Transition Under Fire As Power Bills Soar

Yellow vests

For a long period of time, the energy transition was primarily a technical topic concerning the transformation of the energy grid. Technological developments and the decreasing costs of renewables have made it a viable alternative to fossil fuels. The integration, however, of these new systems requires considerable investments meaning money that directly or indirectly will be provided by ordinary citizens through taxes or their energy bill.

In most parts of Europe, the energy transition is in full swing for a carbon neutral future. The EU has set itself the goal of fulfilling at least 20 percent of its total energy needs with renewables in 2020. Currently, the percentage of renewables in the overall energy production differs between member states such as 10 percent in Malta and 49 percent in Sweden.

Denmark was one of the first countries in the EU to seriously start planning for the energy transition. Early planning, broad societal support, and political will have fostered a strong domestic energy industry. Danish company Vestas is the largest wind turbine producer in the world with approximately 16 percent of the global market share. The energy transition is not cheap which requires the allocation of precious resources that could be spent otherwise. The rising energy bill, however, threatens to derail the process in several countries.

In recent weeks, France was shaken up by major demonstrations led by the so-called ‘yellow vests’ movement which was triggered by the rising costs of living. The French government intended to raise taxes for transportation fuels in order to discourage car usage and pay for the energy transition. The protests escalated into a nationwide movement that eventually forced the government to backtrack on the intended tax hikes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Western Grid Regionalization

Western Grid Regionalization

California and 12 other US states, plus parts of Canada and Mexico, are considering whether to expand the California wholesale grid and balancing area to include the entire region, in order to increase the flow of reliable, affordable, and renewable power across the West. This shift to a regional independent system operator, or ISO, would also expand resource flexibility, improve transmission planning and grid reliability, and enable a far larger share of renewable energy across the system. But it’s not without risk: Would a unified Western market kill the market for power projects sold under virtual PPAs outside its borders? Would it give project developers—or even coal plants—operating within the Western grid but outside California a competitive edge over California’s own renewable project developers? Would it become a loophole through which coal power starts being imported into California, after many years of effort trying to get rid of coal in the Golden State? Would California or any of the other Western states lose control over their own power production and consumption? And what about the five states that could join the Southwest Power Pool instead—what will they do?

These are complex questions with no easy answers, but our guest in this episode is an expert on the subject and ably walks us through all the pros and cons…and points the way to a potentially very different future for power markets in the American West.

…click on the above link to listen to the podcast…

How Puerto Rico Could Turn Disaster into a Decentralized Paradise

How Puerto Rico Could Turn Disaster into a Decentralized Paradise

Could the massive failure of the Puerto Rican government-run energy grid be a blessing in disguise? It has the potential to set Puerto Rico on a course of self-sufficiency and individual empowerment for decades to come.

Many Puerto Ricans are still without power from the large-scale grid failure after Hurricane Maria last fall. Some are not expected to be reconnected to the grid until April or May.

Community Solutions

One of those communities took matters into its own hands and set the local school up with solar panels. Plans to set up rainwater collection and filtration are also in the works. This would make the school entirely off-grid, and a perfect community shelter in the event of other natural disasters.

The Daily Bell recently published an article called 7 Reasons to Shut Down Public Schools Immediately and Permanently. Praising an off-grid public school seems like a contradiction.

But Puerto Rico announced plans to introduce a school voucher program so that students could take a portion of a school’s funding with them and apply it towards another public or private school. Perhaps a school which is off the grid and teaches kids about solar and rainwater systems will flourish. Competition always helps to improve things.

This doesn’t come close to solving all the current problems with mainstream schooling. But the off the grid school couple with school choice can be seen as a decentralization of government, with the community more in control. And that seems like a step in the right direction.

Individual Solutions

Puerto Rican companies in the solar industry had a hard time convincing consumers of the need for solar energy and storage before Hurricane Maria. But now, everyone understands the value of being off the grid. It means you don’t sit around waiting and hoping for the government to come save you. You are in control of your own energy production and use.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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